A responsive change on Route 17

Published 10:17 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

Folks in North Suffolk got a bit of good news last week, as the city announced it had reached an agreement with a contractor installing a new water main along Bridge Road to extend work hours on the project to help speed its completion.

The work, originally scheduled to last through Oct. 1, has shut down one lane in each direction along the heavily traveled thoroughfare from Lee Farm Lane to the Godwin Bridge on weekdays, and residents and businesses along the corridor are preparing for the possibility of long delays, especially when there are problems on either the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel or the James River Bridge.

The delays are still likely, but city officials took to heart the worries of those who live in, work near and travel along the corridor, and they worked out a deal with the contractor that extends the workday by two and a half hours, until 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. The extra hours could result in the project being completed by the end of August, if not sooner, city officials have said.

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Real progress never comes without some sacrifice, and the new water main represents a significant step forward for Suffolk’s fastest-growing area. It will also allow the city to renovate an aging water tower in the Harbour View area, which officials are casting as a destination for commercial development in the northern part of the city. Sprucing up the tower will help extend its life and portray that area in the best possible light for the companies Suffolk hopes to attract as new taxpayers in the community.

City staffers will continue to monitor the situation along Bridge Road and have promised to make further adjustments as needed during the project.

That’s great news for a part of the city that represents a growing and increasingly important part of both Suffolk’s tax and population base, and it’s a good example of city government being responsive to the needs and desires of its citizens.